Spare Parts: Adam Eaton still not good with words

It hasn’t been a good year for Adam Eaton, on or off the field. The Nationals are 37-40 and among baseball’s most disappointing teams, and Eaton’s pedestrian season (.274/.360/.388) is one of many contributing factors.

More than that, he’s spent the year making it more easily understood why he alienated a lot of people in and around the White Sox clubhouse during his time on the South Side.

I spent the weekend half-offline in San Francisco, and found out what Eaton said through indirect references by friends of the show.

When Eaton draws this kind of response, it’s usually because he either kept talking when he should’ve stopped, or what he said was a disaster from Word One.

Sure enough, Eaton was quoted in a Washington City Paper article that detailed the sacrifices minor-league players make in order to pursue their dream. It’s a story that’s getting increasing attention, but worth repeating for those who don’t know that players make $1,000 a month, sleep on inflatable mattresses in non-bedrooms, and get per diems that struggle to cover one proper meal.

But Eaton, who was the White Sox’ union representative during his time in Chicago, took the side of management by saying the underpayment builds character, that it made him the man he is today, and other sentiments associated with hazing.

While he believes things can be improved and players should make a little more money so they’re “literally not eating crumbs,” he doesn’t want MLB to make minor league conditions more hospitable.

“If you do, complacency sets in,” Eaton says. “I think it’s difficult, yes, and it’s easy for me to say that because of where I am, but I wouldn’t be where I am without that … If I financially am supported down there and financially can make a living and not have to get to the big leagues, I think I’m a little more comfortable. I think that I might not work as hard because I know I’m getting a decent paycheck every two weeks, and may not push myself nearly as hard.”

“I don’t disagree with [the notion] that they’re being exploited, but I think it’s for the betterment of everybody,” he adds. “I know it sounds crazy … I think there’s a middle ground … There’s ground to be made up, but I think it still should be rough.”

It’s a comment that doesn’t reflect well on him, even if you think it’s impossible or counterproductive for MLB to give its minor leaguers more than they do now. Eaton probably doesn’t want his down year explained by the security his $23.5 million contract provided. It also doesn’t pair well with his beef with Todd Frazier, in which Eaton lied about having a mortgage in an attempt to make himself relatable to the common fan.

It’s now a little unclear what Eaton actually believes since he walked it back, but he at least seems to recognize that when it comes to those in power leveraging it unfairly and potentially illegally, you do not, under any circumstances, “gotta hand it to them.”

Spare Parts

The White Sox have improved their preseason course by a few wins, as ZiPS projects the White Sox to finish 74-88, good for third in the American League behind the 98-win Twins and 90-win Cleveland.

Is the 98-win projection might be a bit bullish if the Twins’ recent skid — 5-5, three games lost in the standings to the Indians — indicates the start of a lengthy regression period. They’re still on pace for a triple-digit win total with an eight-game lead and the league’s best run differential, but with three position players on the IL and two more banged-up, they’re having to battle for the first time all season.

Toward the bottom of a notebook largely dedicated to the deadline plans for the league’s surprising teams, Ken Rosenthal doesn’t have much to say about the White Sox:

Like many teams, the surprising White Sox would love to add a controllable starter. But they are not going to abandon their long-term plan for a chance at a wild card, and they might not be active at the deadline at all.

GM Rick Hahn has said it’s “very likely” potential free agent Jose Abreu will remain with the club. The team also might prefer to keep three players who are free agents after 2020 — catcher James McCann and relievers Alex Colomé and Kelvin Herrera — with the goal of taking another step forward next season.

Jose Quintana is 0-6 with a 5.40 ERA over his last nine starts, over which the Cubs have scored a total of 19 runs. It’s not like Quintana picked this particular point in his career to struggle, but it’s not great timing considering Eloy Jiménez is starting to show signs of settling in.

The Mets issued a quick apology for the conduct of Mickey Callaway and starter Jason Vargas after the former snapped at a Newsday reporter and the latter threatened him. The Mets aren’t even close to the worst team in baseball, but they’ve developed an uncanny ability to feel like they are.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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karkovice squad

Eaton is who thought he was. His words aren’t the problem, his mindset is. It’s the same dues-paying thinking that perpetuates hazing, corporal punishment, and other forms of abuse because that’s the way it was so that’s the way it should be. His walkback reeks of a PR flack stepping in to fix his brand.


I think the union may have gathered him in


You have to think the Players Association couldn’t have been keen on the “It’s Good To Impoverish Players, Actually” messaging


Players Association has nothing to do with the Minor Leagues though. Seems more likely that he did what he always does; says something stupid, then backtracks a day later with a “sorry if you were offended by your misreading of what I meant” statement.

karkovice squad

MLBPA seems to increasingly and rightly recognize that what happens in MiLB affects the interests of their own members. What they’ll do about it beyond building solidarity is another question.

Lurker Laura

Yeah, he’s an idiot. Does he think if MiLBers are paid minimum wage or higher, they won’t want to be in the majors anymore?


Why would they want to make millions and get fame when you could make minimum wage and share living space?


Athletes, typically not the competitive type. Nor swayed by fame or the promise of what still would be several orders of magnitude more income


The Love of the Game

karkovice squad

Wages are part of the privations but it’s also all of the “character-building” stuff like long bus trips between series. It’s a belief that growth and development only happen when everything is hard like in Whiplash.

The MVP Machine is a direct, empirical refutation of that attitude. It’s actually a failure on Eaton’s part if he wasn’t internally motivated enough to practice effectively without a carrot and stick approach. For the strong-minded, the drive to be the best is enough on its own. The hard work of deliberate, focused practice to make marginal improvements over an extended period of time is enough of a crucible. Adding in ascetic eyewash is not just sociopathic, it’s counterproductive.

John SF

I could not agree with this comment more.

The oppressed and exploited often find self justification in their oppression and exploitation b/c that’s the way you build a healthy personal narrative of self-agency.

And the powerful/lucky often find self justification in their privilege/luck built around the a narrative of “work ethic” and “talent” for similar reasons… and also b/c it’s a great excuse to be a selfish sociopathic dickwad to people you consider ‘lesser-than.’

I’m not saying Eaton isn’t a very talented athlete; he is. He was a legit MVP down-ballot guy only a couple years ago.

But he doesn’t understand that if he had torn his ACL running to and stepping on first base just the wrong way in 2012 instead 2018, he probably wouldn’t even be a major league player right now. He can’t see beyond himself. He has no compassion in his heart, no matter how many holier than thou christian quotes he posts to twitter.


There is a cosmic injustice that the Eaton-Frazier flareup this season did not have Eaton on the Mets. This season’s Metastrophe is a fine sequel to the 2016 White Sox season.


And here i thought the dumbest thing today was going to be Fulmer starting tonight in Boston.


Maybe he’s the opener ?


So Eaton isn’t the only player who thinks this. He’s a hypocrite and an idiot, but I’m glad actually that he did not censor himself with those comments. The MLBPA should be smart enough to recognize that there many other players who share his opinions. While MILB players aren’t in their jurisdiction so to speak – it’s in MLBPAs interest to educate their own members about the exploitation of milb players and build solidarity with them.

karkovice squad

Fegan also had an article looking into @pnoles‘ Tweeted concerns about how Collins will be deployed.

He got Ricky on the record saying they have him up to learn how to prep for games like an MLB catcher and hitter. Would’ve liked more about what work they’re doing to help his receiving instead of just the bit about 1B fungo.


As bad as the Sox are at evaluating Catcher talent, I’m surprised they’re still planning on using Collins behind the plate.

John SF

In his first game as a major league catcher he threw out a runner’s attempt at second and had two successful swipes at the plate, with no passed balls. (I was there and I saw them! They looked good).

In his first unofficial at bat as major league batter, he took a walk at wrigley. In his first official at bat, he hit a home run helping to win the game. In terms of game calling, I’m not sure you can blame him for Despaigne’s failures. But you can credit him for pulling a lot of balls out of the dirt cleanly.

IDK. Sure, we all have long term concerns. But can’t we just get excited for a little bit and have fun with it? We don’t *always* have to be dour around here.


I don’t think accepting the reports by every non-Sox employed scout and sportswriter is being particularly dour.


You can’t know for sure what he’ll be behind the plate if you don’t give it a real shot.

karkovice squad

You mostly can from watching his technique. The questions are whether the Sox even care about receiving skills at all in the first place, whether they employ anyone able to coach him up, and whether he’s willing to put in the work. It’s not as if he’s built like John Kruk or has a degenerative hip condition like Konerko.


People have been watching him behind the plate for 5+ years. During that time, the # who believe he belongs there has diminished to near zero.

lil jimmy

Robin Ventura entered the Majors as a bat first, defensively challenged 3rd baseman.
The lauded Tyler Flowers entered the majors as a bat first, defensively challenged Catcher.
For myself, I will be looking for improvement from this 24 year old.
Since the White Sox have the ultimate say in the matter, I will wait for their determination on where he plays.


Ventura entered the majors at age 21 after 129 minor league games.

Flowers had answered the questions about his defense before getting to the majors. He provided positive defensive vaule from his first major league game ’til now.

karkovice squad

People thought Castro wouldn’t learn to catch either.

The Astros coached him up in an offseason.


Poor Q can’t get run support no matter what team he plays for.

I know he’s not playing great right now, but I still feel like the guy has the worst luck


#the “great” Adam Eaton
#the “great” Jose Quintana